As a professor at Nyack College’s School of Music, what are you passionate about?
The School of Music is about learning to communicate—learning to share, whether it be written, spoken, and especially, since it’s in music, singing or playing. How much can we give away to others the gifts that we have? That’s what I’m passionate about. Trying to teach people that it’s not about the talent they have, but how they give their talent to others that matters.
What is the most important part about studying at Nyack College’s School of Music?
We gather every week in something called studio class. And there, we have our students perform for each other. And it’s about encouragement.
In the Bible, we have a man named Barnabas. He is a favorite of mine, because he was the encourager. We get a lot more in academia by encouragement than we get by teaching them dates of particular people or how to do a particular chord progression. All those things are important. Technique is important. But how can we learn to encourage people so that they will have a purpose and can share their talents with others?
What I hope the students at the School of Music will walk away with is an understanding that they are involved in a community. They will walk away from Nyack knowing that they can be a success because they network with other people.
As the Associate Dean of the School of Music NYC, Dr. Sue Talley believes that the most important thing students can do in music performance is to communicate. Music is communication. It’s a language… whether they are playing or singing.
How are School of Music students trained at Nyack College?
One of the things we try to do in training our students in music performance is giving them a feeling of confidence. And also assuring them that the most important thing they do in performing is communicate. Music is communication. It’s a language, of course, as people always say. But they also want to be able to communicate, whether they’re playing or singing. They have a lot to say. I think that the most important thing that we do at this school is to meet students where they are.
We love the fact that they love different kinds of music. We love the fact that they come with a great deal of gifting, and we try to direct that gifting but not destroy it in order to give them some other kind of music. In other words, we try to expand what they have already, not to narrow it down to something preconceived idea of quote-unquote, classical music or classical sound.
What is your hope for your Music Performance students?
I am hoping that our students will take away that sense of confidence, that sense of purpose, and that sense of ministry in their music. I find that they can do that no matter what kind of music they are ministering. I believe that they can do that now, and I believe that they will grow in that as they commit their work to the Lord.